Ex-detective found guilty in cold-case murder

LINDA DEUTSCH Associated Press Published:

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A former Los Angeles police detective has been found guilty of murdering the wife of her former lover 26 years ago.

The first-degree murder verdict came Thursday in the cold case against Stephanie Lazarus that hinged on the strength of a single piece of evidence -- DNA from a bite mark on the victim's arm.

Victim Sherri Rasmussen was bludgeoned and shot to death in the condo she shared with her husband of three months. He previously was in a relationship with Lazarus.

Detectives initially believed two robbers who had attacked another woman in the area were to blame.

The science of DNA was unavailable in 1986 at the time of the killing. A lawyer for Lazarus said the scientific evidence was mishandled over the years and should be discounted.